Another way to count the vote


Canada isn’t the only nation hav­ing an elec­tion in May. Folks in the United King­dom go to the polls on May 5th — and when they do, they’ll not only be select­ing their lead­ers, they’ll be vot­ing on a ref­er­en­dum to change they way votes are coun­ted. And this has the chance to really make your trip to the polling sta­tion, and the act of cast­ing a vote, much more valu­able.

You see, I find this inter­est­ing as I’d nev­er really con­sidered weight­ing my vote before. Yes, it makes per­fect sense to rank your can­did­ates in order of pref­er­ence, but for some reas­on, it’s just not done here. If it were, I’d have much more interest in find­ing out more about the can­did­ates in my rid­ing and vot­ing for the per­son, instead of the party or the lead­er.

If you’re won­der­ing what I’m talk­ing about, check out this video explain­ing the United King­dom ref­er­en­dum on the vot­ing pro­cess.

Note, this is a paid post (I get pen­nies per view; but only if you’re view­ing the video from the UK) but frankly, I think it’s an inter­est­ing enough concept that we in Canada should look at and con­sider this type of sys­tem. I think it would make me feel that my vote is more mean­ing­ful.

Your thoughts?

Calling All Scientists — Google Science Fair Entry Deadline Looms

Well there’s only 5 days left (as I write this) for stu­dents world-wide com­plete their exper­i­ments, write-up their sum­mar­ies, and cre­ate their sup­port­ing video (or slide present­a­tion) for entry into the Google Sci­ence Fair (

I’m really look­ing for­ward to see­ing the cre­ativ­ity shown in these entries — espe­cially any that relate to liv­ing in a north­ern cli­mate (yes, winter is going on way too long up here this year).

I’m also kind-of envi­ous, one of the prizes is really awe­some:

The Grand Prize winner(s) plus one par­ent or guard­i­an per win­ner will win an amaz­ing 10 day trip to the Galapa­gos Islands with Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Exped­i­tions. Trav­el­ing aboard the Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Endeav­our the winner(s) will vis­it Darwin’s liv­ing labor­at­ory and exper­i­ence up-close encoun­ters with unique spe­cies such as flight­less cor­mor­ants, mar­ine iguanas, and domed giant tor­toises.

And yes, back in the day, we didn’t have Sci­ence Fairs quite this cool, or tech­no­logy quite this soph­ist­ic­ated to work with.

But just enter­ing this con­test exposes con­test­ants to many of the base con­cepts of mod­ern sci­ence; exper­i­ment­ing, learn­ing, fail­ing, try­ing again, and report­ing on your res­ults, all things that mod­ern sci­ent­ists do today.

Some days, I think i was born too soon. Oh, and check out this video for a bit more inspir­a­tion and inform­a­tion about Google’s Sci­ence Fair.

This is a sponsored post.

Sponsored post — Lunchster helps you organize your lunch dates

The fol­low­ing is a sponsored post, com­mis­sioned by Lunch­ster, via Izea. Though this is a paid post, the words and ideas below are mine.

Hook­ing up with friends for lunch has always been a bit of a chal­lenge for me, and I’ve always been look­ing for a way to make it easi­er. I don’t often write sponsored posts on my blog, but this oppor­tun­ity came up and it looks like an applic­a­tion I’ll use, so of course I wanted to share 😉

Lunch­ster launched (sorry) in beta today at DEMO fall ’09, a con­fer­ence / tradeshow where, in the words of the con­fer­ence organ­izers:

Each com­pany is giv­en just six minutes on the DEMO stage to truly demon­strate how their product will change the world. No Power­Point or flashy cor­por­ate present­a­tions allowed. Just the founders and the tech­no­lo­gies many are stak­ing their careers on… it doesn’t get any more straight­for­ward and fast paced than that.

Time for Lunch­ster
Basic­ally, Lunch­ster acts as vir­tu­al assist­ant that coordin­ates lunch dates between me and my friends using email, online cal­en­dar­ing pro­grams (Google Cal­en­dar, etc) and even Face­book.

The pro­cess works like this:

  1. Sign up and log into Lunch­ster
  2. Either let Lunch­ster import your con­tact list, or manu­ally enter email addresses of your lunch-mates
  3. Select a time, date and place for your lunch
  4. Con­firm and send out the invit­a­tions

Lunch­ster does the rest. All your con­tacts will receive email invit­a­tions to your lunch, and can reply accord­ingly. If a date doesn’t work out, all con­tacts can tweak the lunch date or decline. Lunch­ster does all the work and you don’t have to coördin­ate email, IM, tweets, etc. It’s all in Lunch­ster.

My Take-away
Lunch­ster is cool. The inter­face is a little rough around the edges, but I really liked the way I could set up a lunch appoint­ment — the applic­a­tion uses Yelp! to aid with res­taur­ant choice, and works with my exist­ing cal­en­dar­ing tools (Google Cal­en­dar and Out­look).

I’m not a big fan of allow­ing applic­a­tions free access to my con­tact list (though Lunch­ster does say in mul­tiple places that they don’t save my pass­word, etc). Big points to Lunch­ster for allow­ing me to manu­ally enter my lunch-bud­dies email addresses.

I guess the hard part for me is to get into the habit of using anoth­er applic­a­tion. As long as I remem­ber to use it, I’ll use Lunch­ster the next time I need to coördin­ate a lunch.

You can join the Lunch­ster beta (it seems open) or fol­low @lunchster on Twit­ter, to keep up to date.

The pre­ced­ing was a sponsored post for Lunch­ster.
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